Williams’ 2012 car is on schedule for an early February debut.
That is the claim of the famous team’s chief operations engineer Mark Gillan, who said the actual track debut of the newly Renault-powered FW34 will take place during an aerodynamic test before the opening test at Jerez.
“We passed the crash tests before Christmas,” he is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “The debut is planned for the first week of testing at Jerez in early February. So far, the data looks right – we have been able to achieve all the targets we set.”
Gillan said the next goal for Williams, having restructured the team during the course of its dire 2011 season, is for the FW34 to be a regular top-ten finisher.
“I know that making a great leap forward is not easy,” he said. “But from what we know about the car so far, there is reason to be fairly confident that we can be back in Q3 regularly and score points from there.”
Gillan welcomed the FIA’s banning of exhaust blowing; a principle pioneered by Red Bull and also perfected by championship runner-up McLaren last year.
“It (the ban) neutralises the lead that some teams had achieved in this area,” he said. “So the field should move closer together now, at least at the beginning of the season. After that it’s a matter of time before someone comes up with the next F-duct or double diffuser.”